BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – The Statewide Litter Abatement and Beautification task force met Tuesday to assess Louisiana’s litter problem.

Louisiana spends nearly $40 million dollars on litter abatement each year. This trash comes from all over, including falling off trucks, parades, and general carelessness. The Litter Abatement and Beautification Task Force is working together over the next few months to find better solutions.

“Collectively we are not being good stewards today,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Louisiana is ranked the eighth most littered state in the country, according to Keep Louisiana Beautiful. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser’s office is taking the lead on the task force.

“Unfortunately Louisiana is not beautiful right now,” Nungesser said. “We’ve got the worst litter problem even and it’s going to take all of these folks in the room today pulling in the same direction to win this battle.”

The pandemic has only added to the problem. Over 200 million pieces of PPE’s litter the country, according to recent studies. Susan Russell, Executive Director of Keep Louisiana Clean said litter like this can eventually make it to our waterways.

“80-percent of litter and debris in our waterways starts on land,” Russell said. “When we think long term of how that has the potential to damage our seafood industry, that could be catastrophic for our state.”

While the task force focuses on the bigger picture, Russell says there are plenty of ways you can help keep your community clean, especially with big festivities around the corner.

“Do your part to always have a plan of what you’re going to do with trash, especially as we enter into the Marti Gras season, bring a bag, for your beads, but also bring a bag for all the trash,” Russell said.

In July the task will complete a report that will break down the problems and solutions the state needs.